Intimate Partner Femicide: A Transactional-Ecological Approach

Kelly Watt, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
Nicole Allen, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
P. Randall Kropp, British Columbia Inst. Against Fam. Viol.
Penny Bain, BC Inst. Against Family Violence

Intimate partner femicide is a serious international problem. Studies in North America, Britain, and Australia reveal that in any given year between 40-60% of all women victims of homicides are killed by an intimate partner or ex-partner (e.g. Brown, 1987; Campbell, 1986; Daly & Wilson, 1992). Previous research suggests that it may be possible to identify individual, relationship, and socio-cultural factors associated with lethal or life threatening violence (Campbell & Wolf, 2001; Dobash & Dobash, 2000; Grana, 2001). Despite the importance of these findings, these studies share a number of limitations (e.g. a single level of analysis, a limited criminal justice perspective, a failure to consider developmental processes, and a focus on cross-case similarities). Therefore, to address these limitations, this paper proposes an alternate framework incorporating elements of an ecological, transactional, and qualitative approach to studying femicide. The application of this framework to the analysis of 14 cases of femicide in British Columbia will be explored. In light of these cases, the implications for theories of domestic violence, treatment and supervision programs targeted at batterers, programs for enhancing the safety of victims, and policies and procedures for improving community response to intimate partner violence will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006